There are so many reasons to love slow cooked pork. It’s tender, flavorful, and, with the help of a Crock-Pot, nearly impossible to mess up.
Pork shoulder, also called pork butt or Boston butt, is the most common choice for slow cooking. Taken from the upper portion of the front leg of the pig, this inexpensive cut is relatively tough and marbled with fat. Luckily it takes just a few steps to transform pork shoulder into a silky pile of meat: combine the pork and the broth or sauce of your choice in a Crock-Pot, then step away for a few hours. Yes, pork shoulder needs a long cooking time to get that insanely tender, falling-off-the-bone texture, but once it’s done, you have the base for a week’s worth of delicious meals.
A staple of our collection of pork Crock-Pot recipes is pulled pork. The cooked meat should come off the bone with a few passes of a fork, after which you can combine the succulent, porky threads with a variety of toppings. Try mixing the pulled pork with tomato sauce for an easy pasta dish, then pile the left-overs in tortillas for our Slow Cooker Pork Tacos. Another favorite: our Southern Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches, in which pulled pork is smothered in a tangy sauce made from ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, molasses, and mustard. If the weather is cold, a hot, long-simmered pork stew is in order. Adding legumes like Marcia Kiesel does in her Ham Hock and Chickpea Stew is a smart choice because they’ll cook along with the pork without losing their texture.
One last tip for excellent slow cooked pork? Take it from star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and use bold spices. He marinates his pork shoulder with hot paprika and Sriracha chile sauce. "Chile is my condiment of choice,” he says. “A little here, a little there, makes the food sing.”